Friday, April 30, 2010

Rained out again

The weather forecast for New Paltz is getting worse every day. The rain in the afternoon is enough, and then add thunderstorms from 1 PM on.

The forecast for the lower Hudson valley looks promising. At least the morning is clear so an 8 AM start should get the ride up past Tweed at the least. If we get caught in the rain coming down Riverside Drive it's very different than getting caught in the rain on Clove Road in Ulster County (or coming down US44 from Minnewaska in the rain...).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Biathlon ride

The ride on April 18th went off pretty well, though we had a small group. My co-leader Erica and I left Central Park Boathouse with Lori and Carolina; after a nice ride through the south Bronx we were joined by Scott at the west end of Pelham Parkway. The pace was slower than anticipated and we had more and longer stops than I'd planned but we still got to our destination, Life The Place To Be, at around 1:15 or so. I had some trouble reaching the pizzeria to place our order for delivery: called three times with no answer. On the last leg of the South County Trailway I zoomed ahead to our exit from the trailway, and placed a successful call to get our food which came in 45 minutes.

The timing of our food delivery worked out just right: the girls went "rock" climbing right after we arrived. I tried it, but the route I was on was too cramped and my shoes too stiff so I quit about three-quarters of the way up and rappelled down. After pizza, it was time for arcade games. I played many rounds of "Time Crisis". Carolina and Lori danced away on "Dance, Dance Revolution". After our hour of play time was up, we headed back down to the Bronx. Everyone was fed and happy and picked up the pace considerably -- cruising chatting with Erica on the southern leg from Redmond Park, I noticed that Carolina and Lori had zipped off ahead so I sprinted to pass them with Erica hot on my rear wheel.

A great time was had by all.

Erica climbs

Erica, Lori and Carolina climb the wall at Life

Erica and Lori rappel down after reaching the top

Lori dances away on DDR

Monday, April 26, 2010

Meet the Gunks

This Sunday I'm off to the Shawangunks ("Gunks") to do some more climbing and escape the crowds descending on NYC for the 5 Borough Bicycle Tour. I'm changing the route a little this year to use the Walkway over the Hudson instead of the Mid-Hudson Bridge and to go through some residential New Paltz streets to get to the historic section of Hugenot St. . This year we're leaving an hour earlier: we'll meet 7:30 AM at Grand Central Terminal for the train to Poughkeepsie. I hope this provides enough time to climb to the top of Minnewaska State Park. The carriageways are always getting hit with storm damage in the winter but the road to the top itself is at least nominally paved. If it's not accessible, we'll stop at the shores of Lake Minnewaska for a photo op and potty break before we climb back up to the state roads home.

4/29/2010 updated the link to the route so that it actually works

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Stony Point

I looked at the route outbound more closely with terrain on. Fine-tuned route. Now it's a nice day and I've done my errands so let's see how fast I can get out to Clausland. Hmm....think I'll bring my bike light for the return just in case.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Biathlon ride

The link is to the Manhattan/Bronx portion of the ride, to/from the trailway entrance.
From there it's straight up to Ardsley.

Scouting this, I really didn't care much for riding on McLean Ave. -- slow, crowded. Still, no time to ride up north and then go over to Ardsley.

The better way is to take the Moshulu Greenway over to Van Cortlandt Park and get on the "Old Put" trail -- but that's dirt with railroad tracks etc., and not improved dirt like the rail trail up in Orangeburg. I did it once on my touring/cyclocross bike but wasn't too happy about it. If we have a week of dry warm weather, it's a possibility but if there's any rain between tomorrow and April 18th forget it: too muddy, take the roads around VCP.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Manhattan - Bronx scouting

I took a couple of hours today to scout the possibility of taking my April 18th ride to the Bronx via Wards Island and Randall's Island. My route was Central Park East Drive - E. 90th St - 1st Ave - E. 102nd St. - Wards Island - across Wards Island to Randall's Island to the walkway to the Bronx. The hope was to have better cycling for the 25 or so blocks difference by using the Greenway on Ward's Island rather than slogging up 7th Ave. to 125th St.

The reality was somewhat mixed. E. 90th street needs repaving, particularly as it crosses 2nd Avenue and the entire section to 1st. While 1st Ave has a bike lane the pavement isn't in good shape there either.

The best approach is up through Central Park then over to the East Side Greenway and over Wards Island Bridge.

from the Boathouse to the South County Trailway

Stony Point scouting

The smooth asphalt of the Joseph Clarke rail trail in Orangetown made for a fast ride on a glorious spring day this past Friday. I had taken the day off from work to clear my mind and reduce stress. I have a ride to Stony Point on April 25th and I'm not in shape to ride it at the speed I listed -- particularly my climbing is relatively weak and it's a hilly and long ride.

I did Stony Point last year but I want to change the route. I tried out the new Google maps bicycle route feature and it suggested using the Joseph Clarke Rail Trail then the Raymond Esposito Rail trail continuation (Russell Nelson's rail trail sitemap lists it all as the Joesph Clarke though the signage on the route clearly changes the name of this rail trail of the old Northern Railroad of New Jersey route), offering an interesting possibility of a long distance of car-free cycling from Oak Tree Road into Nyack (or vice-versa).

The trail started out really nice. Then the asphalt ends and the trail continues as single track with some crushed gravel and dirt. A fork in the road offers Blauvelt to the left and Piermont and Nyack to the right. I continued on the right fork, which quickly crossed CR 340 at the intersection of CR303 with US 9W crossing a block or so away. After crossing 340, the trail opens up to a wider dirt road -- no gravel. Conditions weren't too great but passable and I continued on. When the trail turns into the Esposito trail it gets gravel and hardpack, much better. Further on one has a choice as the trail forks slightly left and uphill. I continued ahead into Hader County Park which had pretty decent conditions. Lots of debris from the storms but mostly cleared -- a big branch across the route had an opening cut through it.

Overall, not bad but I have a cyclocross frame with 28mm Continental Gatorskins (kevlar belt) tires; my Brooks B-17 stretched leather saddle worked well when I kept my "sit bones" back at the rear of the saddle. The short dirt segment from the paved section to exit onto 340 is acceptable to get us out on 340 to head for Tweed and thence onto Bradley and head for Little Tor Rd. (though taking Orangeburg Rd. around to get to climb Clausland's 11% grade to Tweed and Bradley is good...). For the return route, when we get off the Hook Mountain we just get on Piermont Ave. and follow it back around to the rail trail back to Oak Tree then over to Piermont Rd and back to Englewood Cliffs where of course there is more climbing to finish the day :-)

The route out has to bypass the entrance to Palisades Malls. That's an ok thing if you're headed east but not west since there are cars entering and exiting. Of course, bypassing means more climbing. The current route looks real nice and pretty different from the route that Steve Sakson's crew will take the day before. Climbing Tweed is a nice prelude workout to what we'll do in Mountainview.

The climbing and turning gets us onto CR33 for miles and miles (about 9.6) even as it changes names.

The route home is easier and takes us through Hook Mountain then along the river.